2018 has been a trying year for solar power in India, with policy change in China, tender cancellations and tax/duties being levied upon the domestic solar panels manufacturing sector. Calculation shows that nearly 35 GW of solar energy projects were tendered between Jan-September 2018 in India, upon which only 13 GW of projects were auctioned at the end of 2018. This presented a solar energy adoption slog within the country in 2018. However, 2019 promises to bring more opportunities and better results for solar panels installation in the country. Research shows that India is expected to add 10 GW to 15 GW renewable energy capacity within 2019, in which solar would account for the major portion.
Sunny Expectations in India
New solar energy park development and achieving operational status will play a major role in adding solar capacity in 2019. While the Government’s focus on rooftop solar power growth will lead to increase in awareness and involvement of common man into the transition. India is expected to add nearly 2 GW of new rooftop solar energy capacity, which will double rooftop solar’s growth trajectory from 2018.
States like- Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will continue to contribute to Indian solar growth and is expected to account for more than 75% solar capacity addition in 2019.
Floating solar power projects will gain priority in 2019 and research indicates that near about 80 MW of new floating solar capacity is expected to be added within this current year. This will bring exposure to India’s solar mission and also serve towards protecting India’s water reserves.
Mono PERC (passivated emitter rear contact) solar panels are expected to become the new norm in India in 2019 and energy storage market is expected to get a boost as rooftop solar projects become more viable for industry, commercial, and residential consumers.
Challenges in Path
Although, there are new opportunities ahead for solar energy to grow, there are challenges like- power evacuation and distribution issues, drop in solar equipment cost, importing solar modules, cancellation of projects that are standing in the path to faster solarisation of the country.
Recent policy deviations have dealt a damaging blow to India’s solar power industry by limiting manufacturing growth of solar panels. Although, Government of India boasted of building manufacturing hub in India by focusing on lucrative sectors, India has failed to leverage country’s and world’s most promising sector: solar.
Although, Government has clarified the applicability of GST on 1st Jan, 2019 and recently released CPSU scheme to promote domestic manufacturers, more efforts are needed to support solar.
Given the scenario, Indian solar power industry had high hopes from 2019 union budget to get relief from tax/duties and get better investment opportunities. However, 1st February’s budget proposal failed to highlight any positive reflection for solar. Important areas like- manufacturing, investment, in solar energy were left unattended.
In such circumstances, we can only hope that actual budget will not fail to address the solar requirements, given that this industry has the potential to lead the country towards energy self-reliance, industrial growth, and employment generation. 2019 is bringing new opportunities for solar power growth in India, however realization of these opportunities depend upon prioritizing solar industry and bringing in favourable policies.
By Ms. Neha Agrawal
Head of Corporate Strategy & Rooftop Business, Vikram Solar